Don’t we all just love peanuts !?! Our Indian food uses peanuts in so many dishes,in various ways. The crunch of a roasted peanut or the lightness of boiled peanuts all add such a tasty texture to the dish. If I happen to spot the street vendor with his cart loaded with fresh peanuts ,I need to buy at least a small bag full to bring home. To have it boiled with a little salt then to sit at the table ,chatting with the kids after school ,shelling the peanuts with great dexterity and impatience in order to pop in the mouth is a favourite tea time ritual. Some of the tiny ones will be over cooked and would’ve retained a bit of that salty water from the cooking…to lick that off the fingers is the best part of the experience ! My cousin sister Vinitha makes a mean peanut kozhambhu (curry) that’s absolutely to die for !
Just as peanut brittle is so popular abroad ,so too do we love our kadalai mittai ! That story is a whole other blog post ! Peanut butter is now gaining popularity in India. A couple of decades ago ,it wasn’t so easily available. Indians have long since been making a version of spicy peanut butter..which we refer to as chutneys. Depending on the grinding ,it can vary from a semi coarse to a semi smooth to a very smooth sticky puree’. There are so many variations for a peanut chutney. Additions like coconut ,ginger ,garlic are all quite common and vary from household to household.Also ,the amount of water added varies. Some people like a watery peanut chutney while some prefer a more whole consistency. The taste of peanuts ,tamarind,chillies and salt,all combined together is so delicious that I hesitate marring it with any other strong flavour. Once in a while we may add a variation ,but otherwise we keep it very simple .The garlic ,I like to add simply because in it’s raw form ,it boasts of many advantages to good health !
I just love the aroma of whole roasted peanuts ,all nutty and toasty…I have to stop my self from nibbling on a few before making the chutney. This chutney is not only a great accompaniment to the South Indian staples like, Idli , dosai ,Paniyaram ,Uthappam…but is also a yummy sandwich spread or a dip much like a satay sauce. It’s not only super easy to make but ranks very high on the taste-o-metre !